The iconic cool of Serge Gainsbourg and the pop regalia of Michael Jackson are stylishly as ubiquitous as the selfie. MJ, the performer, hefted his small-bedazzled torso with shoulder pads and thin-legged tuxedo style pants punctuated with sock-hop heavy white socks. Through a waft of his Gitanes, Gainsbourg defined French cool. His intentionally nonchalant style included thin black suits, beatnik bell-bottoms, and wide-open shirts with collars astray, denim and pinstripes. Both these men were consummate performers and their style endures because it was a foundation of their artistic personas.
And so it goes, and comes again in the Spring Balmain 2019 Men’s summer collection. Designer Olivier Rousteing cites his childhood obsession with Gainsbourg, Jackson, the American Dream, French style and Preppy to be behind this collection. Never one to shy away from the flash of a sequin or the flicker of rhinestone Rousteing’s brand of opulence found a perfect foil in the theatrical military jackets, varsity jackets, and Brenton tops throughout this collection. The 80’s, on MTV heavy rotation, have reappeared, bringing with it wide shoulders, pencil leg pants, blaring white ankles, faded and distressed denim and beaucoup stripes.
With Rousteing deft styling the elements do play very nicely together although much of the collection seems more suited for the idea of vintage then a retooling and modernist take on a classic. When the designer hoods his warriors and completes the look with tunic length layers do we see an edge and independence that rises above the costume. The silver suits and terry-look tweed jackets bring left field into the forefront offering club ‘kids’ and fashion boys an exciting vibe. The graphic T-shirts, and sharp geometric sweaters take us into welcomed realm of high-style rock star and heavy metal flash. This creative designer magnetic appeal and vision has attracted legions of followers who relish in self-expression through dress and lifestyle, unburdened by gender norms and tradition, those who turn away from the unifying dictates of ‘preppy,’ be it the American the French style. Strive forward young OR, and excel like you have done in this and previous collections. Balmain.